Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world. (Luke 21:26)
I realize that the above verse is meant for the Great Tribulation, but it came to mind as I read some of the “news reports” that have come across my screen this week. Here’s a sample of what’s currently going around.
1. The President and all of his men are lying through their teeth regarding the government’s health care proposal. They plan to take over the insurance industry, require everyone to enroll, and appoint bureaucrats we’ll never meet to determine the level of care we deserve.
2. People will take to the streets this fall in rebellion against the government’s attempt to make flu shots mandatory.
3. The coming commercial real estate and credit card melt downs will be the worst yet.
4. By mid fall the talking heads on Sunday news shows will be openly using the word “depression” to describe our economic condition.
5. In a move to replace the dollar, banks will close for a few days soon to prepare for issuing new currency. When they reopen everyone will discover that the new currency is only worth 8-16 cents on the dollar.
6. The National Guard is recruiting people they can train to become internment/resettlement specialists, perhaps to man the internment camps that are being constructed across the country.
7. The government is working on a way to implement “preventive detention” programs to lock people up in advance for crimes they might commit.
These are just the reports I received from sources I have always believed to be credible. I won’t even mention the ones I get from the “wing nuts” out there. I have no idea whether any of these claims are true. And that’s part of the problem. I don’t think there’s one single unbiased information source left in this country. Everyone’s pushing some kind of agenda. The middle ground seems to have totally eroded away, and people on both sides are becoming just plain mean to anyone who disagrees with them. This polarization of opinions has effectively put an end to any meaningful discussion.
As a result, a growing number of people believe that the government is trying to pull a fast one on us and they’re upset. And when it seems like all the government does is attack those who criticize them, it makes people even more suspicious.
And that’s what made me think of Luke 21:26. They say our greatest fear is the fear of the unknown and right now there’s a lot that’s unknown. So let’s take a moment to review what we can know and focus on that.
We Know This
The first thing we know is that historically, God has always taken issue with those in leadership positions when their plans have run contrary to the welfare of His children. He had the Prophet Micah explain this in no uncertain terms.
Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance.
Therefore, the LORD says, “I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity. (Micah 2:1-3)
Obviously Micah was speaking to Israel, but the parallels with current events are striking, and Paul did say that everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. (Romans 15:4) According to some, the biggest transfer of wealth in history has just taken place. Before this is over many will have had their homes and property seized and many more will have been defrauded of their inheritance.
But wait a minute, you say, fraud implies a dishonest intent. Indeed it does. Does any body believe the current financial meltdown, decades in the making, just snuck up on us? Were the best financial minds alive today all taken by surprise? Did those in the know suffer the loss of half their assets too? Where did all the money go?
On one day last week a panel of economists declared that the recession is over, and a major bank reported paying over $3 billion in bonuses to its senior staff. The next day we learned that retail sales for July had plunged unexpectedly and a record number of new unemployment applications had been filed. And the recession that’s supposed to be over won’t show us any solid proof of its demise until the middle of 2010. Are you feeling a little like a mushroom? (Kept in the dark and fed a bunch of manure?)
In effect the Lord had Micah tell the leaders of Israel, “You’re lying in bed at night devising new schemes for defrauding my people? Fine. I’m lying in bed at night devising ways to punish you.” Who does history say won that contest? If it’s going on again, who will win this one?
And We Know This
So if we’re being victimized, the leaders responsible for doing it will get theirs. But the Lord has a message for the victims too, and that’s the second thing we know. There are many versions of this message, and we’ve covered some of them before. King David wrote this one.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.(Psalm 37:1-4)
When evil men prosper, it doesn’t have to be at our expense. The Lord has unlimited resources and by trusting in Him our heart’s desires can be fulfilled regardless of what others do. We start by trusting in him (we yield our lives to Him) and doing good (literally, we’re pleasant and agreeable toward Him). We dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture (we abide in Him and let Him provide for us). We also delight ourselves in Him (we let Him pamper us). As we do He gives us the desires of our heart (answers our prayers and petitions). Are you out of work, or worried that you soon will be? Are you losing your home or other assets? It might be a great opportunity to turn your life over to the Lord, and let Him do all the things He’s always wanted to do for you. Remember, Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.”(John 10:10) Still OK financially? Do it anyway.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. (Psalm 37:5-9)
We need only commit our hearts to Him and trust Him to do this. Even if it seems like wicked men are prevailing against us, we’re to be patient and not get angry or lose hope. We can afford to be like the first century Christians who joyfully accepted the confiscation of their property, because they knew that they themselves had better and lasting possessions. Like them, we should not throw away our confidence; it will be richly rewarded. We need to persevere so that when we have done the will of God, we will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:34-36)
Remember when Pharaoh’s army had the Israelites trapped between the mountains and the Red Sea? The people felt betrayed and were terrified. They demanded that Moses explain how he had gotten them into such a mess.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” (Exodus 14:13)
That’s still good advice. The Lord is not like us. He doesn’t change His mind or break His commitments. (Numbers 23:19) The promises of Psalm 37 are still more certain than the most ironclad agreement you could ever negotiate on Earth. You only have to trust Him.
That’s all we can do, and that’s all we need to do. We can’t trust our leaders, we can’t trust the experts, we can’t trust the media. We can only trust the Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.(Proverbs 3:5-6) This we know.